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Homeless man who tried to buy food and toothpaste with fake $20 note jailed for six years

TU Curmudgeon

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From The Independent

Homeless man who tried to buy food and toothpaste with fake $20 note jailed for six years

A homeless man who tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy food and toothpaste has been sentenced to up to six years in prison.
Levi Mitchell, 53, was found guilty of “criminal possession of a forged instrument” after attempting to use the fake bill at a pharmacy in New York City and again at a nearby restaurant.

Cashiers at both establishments rejected the homeless man’s note, before police officers later found him in possession of five counterfeit $20 bills, each worth around £15.

Mitchell was initially sentenced to up to eight years in prison following the March 2015 offence, but he had his sentence reduced to between three and six years by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division this week.

The court acknowledged Mitchell was trying to buy “basic human necessities” before his arrest.

COMMENT:-

Well, I suppose that one way of looking at this is that Mr. Mitchell doesn't have to worry about food, clothes, medical care, unemployment, or housing for the next few years.

PS - A true cynic would also note that it would actually be cheaper just to provide him with a monthly income of $2,000 than it is to toss him in jail.

PPS - You have to be pretty thick not to realize that the fake money you are trying to pass is not very good when people won't take it.
 

dirtpoorchris

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Man I dont think being in possession of illegal money should be jailable unless you have over like 10,000$. Or you are caught buying illegal money on purpose. Or making it.

Someone could have traded it to you.
 

TU Curmudgeon

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Man I dont think being in possession of illegal money should be jailable unless you have over like 10,000$. Or you are caught buying illegal money on purpose. Or making it.

Someone could have traded it to you.

When you track the "distribution net" for counterfeit, you eventually get to the point where someone is actually putting the money into circulation. They get paid to do it (and the pay is pretty crappy).

If someone has ONE counterfeit bill, that would be understandable. If someone has five or six counterfeit bills, drawing any conclusion other than that they were being paid to pass counterfeit money is pretty difficult. If someone tries to pass a counterfeit bill, has it rejected because it is counterfeit, and then tries to pass it someplace else, drawing any conclusion other than that they are pretty dumb is pretty difficult.

Homeless or not, this person appears to have risen to his level of incompetence when he adopted the new occupation of "jail inmate".
 

apdst

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Man I dont think being in possession of illegal money should be jailable unless you have over like 10,000$. Or you are caught buying illegal money on purpose. Or making it.

Someone could have traded it to you.

Who's to say this dude hasn't spent hundreds, thousands in counterfeit cash? Sooner, or later someone lost money on those bogus bills. That's no different than stealing.
 

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Play stupid games, you win stupid prizes! Do not break laws and you won't end up in jail.


From the story:

Mitchell was initially sentenced to up to eight years in prison following the March 2015 offense, but he had his sentence reduced to between three and six years by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division this week.


Mr Mitchell had been “actively engaged in a counterfeiting scheme in which he sought to obtain genuine currency as change for small dollar transactions”.



Justice Tom added: “He was not merely using a single counterfeit bill to purchase “human necessities” as the majority characterises it. Rather, it appears he was part of a counterfeiting scheme to change counterfeit bills for real currency.”
 

Fishking

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Man I dont think being in possession of illegal money should be jailable unless you have over like 10,000$. Or you are caught buying illegal money on purpose. Or making it.

Someone could have traded it to you.

Shouldn't be at all, until you try and use it. It's just paper.
 

Fishking

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From The Independent

Homeless man who tried to buy food and toothpaste with fake $20 note jailed for six years

A homeless man who tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy food and toothpaste has been sentenced to up to six years in prison.
Levi Mitchell, 53, was found guilty of “criminal possession of a forged instrument” after attempting to use the fake bill at a pharmacy in New York City and again at a nearby restaurant.

Cashiers at both establishments rejected the homeless man’s note, before police officers later found him in possession of five counterfeit $20 bills, each worth around £15.

Mitchell was initially sentenced to up to eight years in prison following the March 2015 offence, but he had his sentence reduced to between three and six years by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division this week.

The court acknowledged Mitchell was trying to buy “basic human necessities” before his arrest.

COMMENT:-

Well, I suppose that one way of looking at this is that Mr. Mitchell doesn't have to worry about food, clothes, medical care, unemployment, or housing for the next few years.

PS - A true cynic would also note that it would actually be cheaper just to provide him with a monthly income of $2,000 than it is to toss him in jail.

PPS - You have to be pretty thick not to realize that the fake money you are trying to pass is not very good when people won't take it.

That's ridiculous. Dude goes to buy basic food and sanitary material and gets 3-6 years for it, because he tried to pass off some crappy fakes? Yes...we've all been saved from this extreme threat to our monetary system. I mean, it's not like the gov just prints money out of thin air as well...
 

TU Curmudgeon

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That's ridiculous. Dude goes to buy basic food and sanitary material and gets 3-6 years for it, because he tried to pass off some crappy fakes? Yes...we've all been saved from this extreme threat to our monetary system. I mean, it's not like the gov just prints money out of thin air as well...

Since the man knew that the bills were fake, saying "Dude goes to buy basic food and sanitary material" is a bit naive, isn't it?

If he was working for a really generous distributor, he might get as much as $1.00 per bill (over and above what his allowed average dollar value purchase was).

These were $20.00 bills and that's right down at the bottom of what it is currently cost/effective to counterfeit. NOBODY bothers to counterfeit ones, fives, or tens any more. The "preferred" target today is the $100.00 bill.
 

HenryChinaski

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From The Independent

Homeless man who tried to buy food and toothpaste with fake $20 note jailed for six years

A homeless man who tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy food and toothpaste has been sentenced to up to six years in prison.
Levi Mitchell, 53, was found guilty of “criminal possession of a forged instrument” after attempting to use the fake bill at a pharmacy in New York City and again at a nearby restaurant.

Cashiers at both establishments rejected the homeless man’s note, before police officers later found him in possession of five counterfeit $20 bills, each worth around £15.

Mitchell was initially sentenced to up to eight years in prison following the March 2015 offence, but he had his sentence reduced to between three and six years by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division this week.

The court acknowledged Mitchell was trying to buy “basic human necessities” before his arrest.

COMMENT:-

Well, I suppose that one way of looking at this is that Mr. Mitchell doesn't have to worry about food, clothes, medical care, unemployment, or housing for the next few years.

PS - A true cynic would also note that it would actually be cheaper just to provide him with a monthly income of $2,000 than it is to toss him in jail.

PPS - You have to be pretty thick not to realize that the fake money you are trying to pass is not very good when people won't take it.
I wonder if he’s in a private prison. The convicted are kept in private prisons longer than state. They have quotas to fill.
 

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Amazing, how we let people who influence out elections by Foreign Adversaries for Money.... get sent to the country club prison system, but we are giving a homeless man this much time.. for some pursuit and need for basic subsistence items, with fake money. Someone gave it to him, that is where you issue the long sentence, but I guess they want to send a message to others distributors of fake money. Drug dealing has had fake money mixed in their money for a very very long time... who knows how this guy came about having the money. Did that come out in the Trial?

Has'n't N. Korea been making the Super Notes of $20's and 100's for a decade or more, or every time a new series issue comes out.

I don't know what the thing to do in this case. But
 

Fishking

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Since the man knew that the bills were fake, saying "Dude goes to buy basic food and sanitary material" is a bit naive, isn't it?

If he was working for a really generous distributor, he might get as much as $1.00 per bill (over and above what his allowed average dollar value purchase was).

These were $20.00 bills and that's right down at the bottom of what it is currently cost/effective to counterfeit. NOBODY bothers to counterfeit ones, fives, or tens any more. The "preferred" target today is the $100.00 bill.

Which makes his offense equal to attempted theft, and then a little more for using fake currency. This wasn't some huge scheme.
 

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I have no idea if this guy was "dealing" in counterfeit bills or not.
I'll tell you what happened to me. Whenever I travel to not so good places I go my local bank and get cash.
I was buying takeout spent about $30 handed the cashier a $100 bill a few minutes later a manager comes out to tell me my bill is fake and their keeping it....huh? No your not.
They called the police. I explained to the police officer that I was from out of state I took cash out of the bank because it made me uncomfortable in places like this to give them my card. He laughed and asked then why did I come to places like "this" when I explained why I didn't really have a choice and showed my id. He had the manager give me my bill back and I then asked him where I could get some good food?
At first I thought these people were trying to steal my money because they heard my accent and thought I was going to just walk away. It happened several times in different states so now I think people are just stupid and carry a reloadable pre paid card.
I think how easy it is to be hauled away for foolishness.
 

TU Curmudgeon

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Which makes his offense equal to attempted theft, and then a little more for using fake currency. This wasn't some huge scheme.

He was deliberately passing counterfeit money - wasn't he?
 

TU Curmudgeon

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I have no idea if this guy was "dealing" in counterfeit bills or not.
I'll tell you what happened to me. Whenever I travel to not so good places I go my local bank and get cash.
I was buying takeout spent about $30 handed the cashier a $100 bill a few minutes later a manager comes out to tell me my bill is fake and their keeping it....huh? No your not.
They called the police. I explained to the police officer that I was from out of state I took cash out of the bank because it made me uncomfortable in places like this to give them my card. He laughed and asked then why did I come to places like "this" when I explained why I didn't really have a choice and showed my id. He had the manager give me my bill back and I then asked him where I could get some good food?
At first I thought these people were trying to steal my money because they heard my accent and thought I was going to just walk away. It happened several times in different states so now I think people are just stupid and carry a reloadable pre paid card.
I think how easy it is to be hauled away for foolishness.

Good move(s).

Getting the police involved immediately (especially if you still have the withdrawal record) saves you a whole lot of time and trouble (and the bank will have to "make good" the fake bill they gave you).

Having the reloadable card is one of the better ideas for travelling.
 

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I guess he's no longer homeless.
 

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The sentence was reduced on appeal. It was initially 8 years.



This kind of **** is why people end up going into public defense. Some rich kid can crash a car and kill someone, then get away with a far lighter sentence. Try to pass an apparently obviously fake bill to buy ****ing toothpaste and 8 years is the result; oh, sorry, a 'reduced' sentence of 3-6 years. The sentences are in relation to socio-economic status (this reflection requires no assumption that judges actively seek to punish poor people more), not gravity of harm the defendant caused.

The maximum amount of harm he was capable of causing was $100, but apparently, they were such bad bills he caused 0$. You won't get 3-6 years let alone 8 if you get caught shoplifting a $100 shirt, especially if you've got some cash and a white skin.
 
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jimbo

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Man I dont think being in possession of illegal money should be jailable unless you have over like 10,000$. Or you are caught buying illegal money on purpose. Or making it.

Someone could have traded it to you.

Your first hint should be when that first cashier turned it down.

My guess is that caught buying it or making it is part of the transaction.
 

mike2810

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From the OP article
"The judge said Mitchell’s crime deserved the longer sentence handed down in November 2015, partly because of the homeless man’s previous convictions."

It doesn't specify what he had done in the past, but it seems clear the crimes were enough for the Judge to assign the years he did.
 

TU Curmudgeon

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The sentence was reduced on appeal. It was initially 8 years.



This kind of **** is why people end up going into public defense. Some rich kid can crash a car and kill someone, then get away with a far lighter sentence. Try to pass an apparently obviously fake bill to buy ****ing toothpaste and 8 years is the result; oh, sorry, a 'reduced' sentence of 3-6 years. The sentences are in relation to socio-economic status (this reflection requires no assumption that judges actively seek to punish poor people more), not gravity of harm the defendant caused.

The maximum amount of harm he was capable of causing was $100, but apparently, they were such bad bills he caused 0$. You won't get 3-6 years let alone 8 if you get caught shoplifting a $100 shirt, especially if you've got some cash and a white skin.

Back in the 80s (that's 1980s, NOT 1880s like some people believe) when I was in University for the second time, one of the articles handed out in one of my Criminology courses was a journal article by a couple of sociologists who had studied a large number of inmates. Their conclusion was that - based on the inmates ACTUAL abilities and opportunities - the inmates had, by and large, made the "best possible career choice" that was realistically available to them.

In short, although those inmates MIGHT have the capacity to support themselves legally, their lack of education and/or work skills (NOT the same thing as "job skills") meant that their income was higher by engaging in criminal activity than they could realistically expect to earn - in the condition that they were ACTUALLY in - from "honest employment". The study concentrated on inmates whose crimes were "property oriented" rather than "violence oriented".

PS - Crime DOES pay. "The compleat swindler" by Ralph Hancock (Macmillan; First Edition edition (1968) / ASIN: B0006BR55Q) [it may have an ISBN, but I don't know it].

PPS - Once having read Mr. Hancock's interesting book, you will see that REALLY successful crime requires a whole lot more work than you'd think it does, and that one of the main reasons for doing it is (as I recall from one of the case studies "Because I make more money swindling the banks than the bank managers do from running them.").
 

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From The Independent

Homeless man who tried to buy food and toothpaste with fake $20 note jailed for six years

A homeless man who tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy food and toothpaste has been sentenced to up to six years in prison.
Levi Mitchell, 53, was found guilty of “criminal possession of a forged instrument” after attempting to use the fake bill at a pharmacy in New York City and again at a nearby restaurant.

Cashiers at both establishments rejected the homeless man’s note, before police officers later found him in possession of five counterfeit $20 bills, each worth around £15.

Mitchell was initially sentenced to up to eight years in prison following the March 2015 offence, but he had his sentence reduced to between three and six years by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division this week.

The court acknowledged Mitchell was trying to buy “basic human necessities” before his arrest.

COMMENT:-

Well, I suppose that one way of looking at this is that Mr. Mitchell doesn't have to worry about food, clothes, medical care, unemployment, or housing for the next few years.

PS - A true cynic would also note that it would actually be cheaper just to provide him with a monthly income of $2,000 than it is to toss him in jail.

PPS - You have to be pretty thick not to realize that the fake money you are trying to pass is not very good when people won't take it.

Oddly enough if you are caught with counterfeit money it can be taken from you and you can be prosecuted. If a bank turns in counterfeit money, they get reimbursed.
 

TU Curmudgeon

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Oddly enough if you are caught with counterfeit money it can be taken from you and you can be prosecuted.

The key word there is "caught". If you receive counterfeit money from a bank AT A TELLER and point out that fact to the bank AT THE TIME, the bank has to take it back and give you real money (otherwise the bank would be guilty of both "passing counterfeit money" and "fraud"). You might be able to stretch that "at the time" out for the time that it takes you to walk from the ATM to the teller - but don't count on it. After that, whether you have to eat the loss or whether the bank will make good is really up to what the bank's own policies are.

If a bank turns in counterfeit money, they get reimbursed.

I can see that a bank's INSURANCE policy might cover that, but if you have any actual evidence (link please) that the US government gives out good money for bad, I'd really like to see it.
 

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Play stupid games, you win stupid prizes! Do not break laws and you won't end up in jail.


From the story:

Mitchell was initially sentenced to up to eight years in prison following the March 2015 offense, but he had his sentence reduced to between three and six years by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division this week.


Mr Mitchell had been “actively engaged in a counterfeiting scheme in which he sought to obtain genuine currency as change for small dollar transactions”.



Justice Tom added: “He was not merely using a single counterfeit bill to purchase “human necessities” as the majority characterises it. Rather, it appears he was part of a counterfeiting scheme to change counterfeit bills for real currency.”

I'll be looking for your air-tight "law and order" drum beating posts like this in the Roger Stone thread.
 

bongsaway

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The key word there is "caught". If you receive counterfeit money from a bank AT A TELLER and point out that fact to the bank AT THE TIME, the bank has to take it back and give you real money (otherwise the bank would be guilty of both "passing counterfeit money" and "fraud"). You might be able to stretch that "at the time" out for the time that it takes you to walk from the ATM to the teller - but don't count on it. After that, whether you have to eat the loss or whether the bank will make good is really up to what the bank's own policies are.



I can see that a bank's INSURANCE policy might cover that, but if you have any actual evidence (link please) that the US government gives out good money for bad, I'd really like to see it.

I swear I watched a show albeit years ago about the secret service who is in charge of counterfeiting. I'm almost positive if a note from a bank popped out as counterfeit the federal reserve reimbursed them? Could be wrong. The best I could find is a link to this. https://www.frbservices.org/resourc...xception-processing/counterfeit-currency.html

I'm not sure what they mean by charged since an account can be charged with a debit or credit. I will presume they mean taken out of the banks account.
 

trouble13

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Man I dont think being in possession of illegal money should be jailable unless you have over like 10,000$. Or you are caught buying illegal money on purpose. Or making it.

Someone could have traded it to you.
I somewhat agree. I think the Gov should have to be able to prove that you were passing funny money with knowledge of it being that. In this case I think they do have that evidence since he tried twice.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

TU Curmudgeon

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I swear I watched a show albeit years ago about the secret service who is in charge of counterfeiting. I'm almost positive if a note from a bank popped out as counterfeit the federal reserve reimbursed them? Could be wrong. The best I could find is a link to this. https://www.frbservices.org/resourc...xception-processing/counterfeit-currency.html

I'm not sure what they mean by charged since an account can be charged with a debit or credit. I will presume they mean taken out of the banks account.

That is correct, the Depositing Institution's account with the Reserve Bank is DEBITED by the amount of false currency detected, removed, and forwarded to the Secret Service. The Depositing Institution does NOT get "Good Money For Bad", it just gets stuck with the loss and then raises its bank charges in order to recoup the loss.
 
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